by Sunay Akin
At the age when Jesus was crucified,
I find myself nailed to life
by two children holding my hands ‚—
a burden as difficult to bear
as a truck overloaded with breakable goods ‚—
rinsed clean away with the dregs of love.
You think I'm just talking to myself.
But what's always with me
is the face cloth you left behind.
You spoilt our game of hide-and-seek ‚—
you forgot to tell me to come out
from my hiding place.
Each night I go to bed
wishing you were the book I was reading ‚—
the page I'd crease and leave unread
before turning off the lights.
To which you'd reply,
My skin is getting creased.
I'm growing old.
Every step I take
across the desert of your absence,
tears spill from my eyes,
from the waters I have borne on my back.
Far from the shadow of its mate,
the desolate camel dies alone in the desert.
As night descends,
I too turn black.
Stranded on the shore of Salacak,
Kiz Kulesi, Leander's Tower,
looms across the water
like a threat.
The literal translation of this poem was made by Dilek Unsal
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop
Salacak is a suburb on the eastern side of Istanbul. Kiz Kulesi literally means 'the Maiden's Tower', but is widely known in English as 'Leander's Tower' (after the legend of Hero and Leander). It is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul.
Translated by Dilek Unsal and The Poetry Translation Workshop.
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2014